IPv6 a 'simple transition'

Farzana Rasool
By Farzana Rasool, ITWeb IT in Government Editor.
Johannesburg, 25 Jan 2012

The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is simple and SA's systems are ready, according to the Department of Communications (DOC).

Speaking to ITWeb yesterday, acting deputy director-general of the Presidential National Commission on Information Society and Development Themba Phiri said: “The IPv6 issue is a simple transition. All you need is the equipment that enables new registration of the domain names.”

This is despite industry players saying radical action needs to occur if SA wants a smooth transition to IPv6, which is the next-generation Internet protocol (IP) address standard intended to supplement and eventually replace IPv4, the protocol most Internet services use today.

Crisis mode?

Andrew Alston, CTO of Tenet, previously said SA needs to move fast on preparing for the switchover. “We're in crisis mode. We think it's all fine now and it will work itself out, until customers start calling and saying they can't access something.”

Sites like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube are all already IPv6-ready and users won't be able to access those sites if the switchover doesn't happen in time.

Independent Communications Authority of SA councillor William Stucke says that, since a significant portion of the country's Internet market is dependent on Telkom's ADSL infrastructure, it needs to move radically to replace this if it wants a smooth transition to IPv6.

Pivotal year

Former deputy communications minister Obed Bapela previously told ITWeb that policies and the regulatory environment for the switchover need to be addressed, but Phiri said thorough policy is not needed as it will have no material impact.

However, Adiel Akplogan, CEO of Internet numbers registry for Africa, AfriNIC, says some operators in SA are already playing around with IPv6, but government regulation will formalise this.

“We understand that the ISPs are already comfortable to migrate to IPv6 so our systems are simple and ready. It's a matter that's being implemented,” says Phiri.